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Byron Bay

Terrafirma Yoga - Teacher Trainings by Tara Fitzgibbon in Byron Bay.

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TARA'S BLOG

The Mystical and Magical Ujjayi Pranayama

Tara Fitzgibbon

Ujjayi Pranayama 

 

It is THE most simple of all yoga’s breathing practices and because it is so easy to do, Ujjayi Pranayama is so effective.

Effective at slowing down your nervous system, your heart rate and your racing mind.  You need to breathe.  Especially if you have anxiety, stress or depression, aches or pains, injuries or illness. You need to breathe.

In Yin Yoga we learn to breathe the Ujjayi breath in a yin way.  Slow, steady and soft.  There is effort, but it is minimal.  This takes time and practice. Once you master the Ujjayi breath yourself you can go on to teach it to others.  To empower others.  This is why we teach it at the beginning of every yoga class.  The key to Ujjayi is a gentle narrowing of the throat passageway.  This exaggerates the sound so you can hear it. The most important element of Ujjayi is the sound.

As you slow down your breath and smooth out the flow, the sound becomes consistent and steady while becoming quieter and quieter.  It is the internal sound that is so divine.  It is the internal sound that heals our wounds and replenishes our cells.  This breath is guaranteed to detox your body and cleanse your mind. 

The slow pace of the breath allows time for oxygen to be absorbed into the cells with each inhale, improving the efficiency of your cellular breathing.  Did you know that you have 50 trillion cells inside of you?  If your cells are breathing efficiently this improves your metabolism which affects how your body handles nutrients from your food.

At the same time each exhale carries out toxins and waste product.  Which yoga describes as purification. A way of making your body less dense.  Simultaneously, your mind and emotions are cleared of the density as well.

The word ‘prana' is a Sanksrit word which means life force.  It is also called chi, mana and oxygen.  Pranayama means you are moving this force through you.  A body with high levels of prana is vibrant and doesn’t succumb to sickness. Any dis-ease will be improved by increasing your levels of prana.  The level of prana moving through your body determines your health, vitality and glow. 

We teach Ujjayi Pranayama for 5-8 minutes at the beginning of every class in the pose named Shavasana.  It is merely an introduction to the full practice of 20 minutes everyday.  But 5-8 minutes is enough to get you started on your journey to wellness and it will help you go deeper when you practice the yoga poses which follow. 

It is a mystery how this simple breath can weave magic into your life, but if you remember to breathe an Ujjayi breath or ten everyday, I  guarantee it will change your life for the better.  

 

Remember to Breathe…

 

Love Tara

 

 

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SLOWING DOWN by Celia Galpin

Tara Fitzgibbon

Earlier this month I walked out of a 6 day Yin Yoga meditation retreat. One of the best things that I could have possibly done for myself this year.

As an avid surfer, heading into my 40's... argh! I'm aware that I need to start looking after this body so I can continue in surfing for many years yet! Also most importantly as a Sole Parent of a almost 5 year old daughter,  'my' time has been few and very far between over the last 5 years.

What was the main thing I learned and wanted to share?

SLOWING DOWN

It's an art, never felt like I had to do it but now I see how I need to do it and BREATHE, its the number one fundamental thing we need to do, so I'm learning how to do it really really really well. 

Even though there were a few of us rebels that would sneak off for our morning coffee, thank goodness! (love you all!) We would enter 2 hours of meditation and yoga to start the day.  We did this twice a day, morning and evening and in between learned a lot about Yin Yoga, Breath, Chinese Medicine, and ourselves. After 6 days, I had been transformed. 

Today, a few weeks after, the change its had in my life is still apparent. I'm not rushing anymore, everything in my day will still happen, and in perfect timing. I've slowed down, and with the awareness now to do this, I'm enjoying every moment that's in front of me more.

Massive thank to you Terrafirma Yoga, your inspiring in many ways and am grateful that I was present whilst you shared your knowledge.

Namaste  

 

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Why Yin Yoga?

Tara Fitzgibbon

I'm often asked what is so special about Yin Yoga. Many believe it's just a slow and easy yoga class. It may be a passive practice, but there are immense hidden benefits. Yin is unique in that you are asked to soften and relax into each posture letting go of tension breath by breath, layer by layer. This process of letting go takes time and so each pose is held for 3-10 minutes. The slowing down process is meditative, breath-focused and physical all at once. And let me assure you, it is not easy to take it slow and be fully present in each moment.

A slower approach to yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, our rest and digest. Why is this important? We are over-worked, over-stressed and a fear of life or fear of survival is wreaking havoc on our adrenals and nervous system. This is not good news for short or long term health. Yin is turning that around and resetting our entire nervous system. It also increases mobility in the joints, strengthens the bones, teaches us how to cope with anxiety and depression and gives us permission to rest.  This is the key to transformation, this permission to be still and rest.

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What is the difference between Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga?

Tara Fitzgibbon

It took me a couple of years to figure this one out, for a long time I considered what I teach and practice a Restorative Yin style of yoga and to this day it is.  But, in the past couple of years with the growing popularity of Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga there is a need to clarify the difference. 

Let me begin with the similarities; both styles are a branch of Hatha Yoga which balance the right and left sides of our bodies.  Both styles are ‘yin like’ in comparison to the more ‘yang like’ yoga where the practitioner strengthens, flows and heats up the body. In Restorative Yin the practitioner lengthens, slows and cools down the body. Both styles are passive and both styles are restorative in nature.  

The main difference is that in a Restorative Yoga class the practitioner is asked to be 100% comfortable.  In a Yin Yoga class discomfort is welcome.  In Yin we find our Goldilocks position; not too strong, not too soft, just right.  

In Restorative Yoga props are always used and soft is more often the way to practice.  Restorative Yoga is perfect for people recovering from illness or injury as lots of props are offered and the poses are not super challenging. Based on the teachings of the late B.K.S Iyengar, Restorative Yoga at its core is a practice of passive healing. It is intended to carry the student into a deep state of relaxation by completely supporting the body in propped-up asanas.  These props equal release and therefore allow the practitioner to surrender completely.  When practicing Restorative Yoga the physical sensations are minimal as the body finds space to gently surrender and soften into the support of the props.  

In  Yin Yoga  props can be used or not it is up to the teacher and Yin Yoga is not necessarily soft as it can be quite challenging. Introduced by Paul Grilley in the late 1980s, Yin Yoga is based on the ancient, Taoist concepts of yin and yang, the opposite and complementary principles in nature. It works synergistically with the principles of traditional Chinese medicine to shift ‘Chi’ or 'Qi' through the body.  In Hatha Yoga the Sanskrit word for 'Chi' is ‘Prana.’  The word 'Prana' in English means life force. All Yoga works with life force, but Yin Yoga works with the bones, ligaments, joints and fascial network as well. Once in the asana, the practitioner is asked to stay in this stillness and breathe for two minutes and sometimes up to ten minutes. You will practice a lot less poses in the same amount of time as a more general yoga class. Although Yin is a passive style of yoga, the length of time in postures combined with the intensity of sensations, make this practice challenging.  It is deceptively powerful.  When the body begins to unravel and the mind begins to still, in my experience, a real sense of peace occurs.  It is the permission to let go of whatever the practitioner is holding on to that makes this yoga one of the most popular styles today.  

In essence both Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga give us permission to rest, permission to slow down and pause from everyday ‘busy-ness’.  Shavasana is the foundation of both these styles and a teacher who knows how to teach this asana properly will give their students the best gift of all…deep rest.